(Jamaica Observer, Karena Bennett, 24.Feb.2019) — After 100 years of operating Texaco gas stations in Jamaica, GB Energy says it is on track to become the dominant player in the fuel industry pending the roll out of a number of initiatives over the next two years.
Chief among the plans to secure a larger market share for Texaco, is its ambition to retrofit its service station with electric chargers in response to changes in the automobile market.
Since 2008, a renaissance in electric vehicle manufacturing occurred due to advances in batteries, concerns about increasing oil prices, and the desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The changes in technology have resulted in Jamaica importing a number of gasoline-electric hybrid, which commonly uses internal combustion engines and electric motors to power the vehicle.
Ultimately, Texaco hopes to be one of the first-movers when the electric-vehicle industry develops locally.
“We sell energy, so if the energy to be sold is electricity, we will sell that. You will have a charger that can charge a car in 25 minutes. Usually, a car is charged at home for eight hours, but you can come to our service station and charge for 25 minutes and the price that people will pay at the service stations depends on the demand,” CEO of GB Energy Jamaica, Mauricio Pulido told Jamaica Observer.
The CEO admits that there will be complexities to implement the technology since it would require high voltages, but said the company will be partnering with the Jamaica Public Service to ensure that other operations of the station will not be affected.
Pullido did not give a timeline for implementation but said the electric chargers are being implemented “as we speak”.
In addition to Texaco’s diversification into electric car chargers, the company has announced plans to invest $80 million in the construction of a conversion centre in Grants Pen, St Andrew.
The centre will be used to retrofit vehicles with pumps to use a cheaper alternative to petrol. The liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) product is said to be state-of-the-art Italian technology, to cost motorists 50 per cent less than the price of 90-Octane fuel.
According to Pullido, the conversion centre, which is set to be completed later this year, will create employment for 30 people. GB Energy is also looking to invest $150 million to supply LPG from 15 service stations on the island by the end of the year.
Texaco’s liquid petroleum gas (LPG) under the TexGas brand is currently available at the Texaco service station on Half Way Tree Road while the Molynes Road location is set to offer the gas in May.
While work continues on GB Energy’s new focus area, Pullido is also adamant about positioning the Texaco network to be “very strong in terms of people having the option to fill where ever they feel want to”.
The fuel provider is investing heavily in the construction of new service stations with convenience stores, fast-food restaurants and restroom amenities to create a ‘one-stop shop’ for its customers.
Currently, GB Energy has 67 service stations across the island, the latest being Unity Valley, along the North-South Highway, Mountain View in Kingston, Lucea in Hanover, Montego Bay and Falmouth.
Other locations will be opened in Kingston, Priory, St Ann, Ironshore in Montego Bay and Clarendon by the end of the year.
Texaco continues to serve Jamaica through five areas: aviation, retail, consumer, lubricants and recently LPG.